Nineteen...

Ok so I admit I am writing this on the 16th, but, well, I couldn't bring myself to do it on the 15th, Bethys birthday... Her 19th birthday no less.

It's now the middle of the night, and my mind has been a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions for close to 24 hours now, and while the last year has been absolutely crap, I need to blog for my beautiful baby's birthday.

As ever, it feels like just yesterday that she was born. Just yesterday the tiny little bundle was handed to me. That I held her tight and close before she was whisked off to the Intensive Care. Just yesterday that my little Bethy started fighting tooth and nail.

After all these years, I still remember her milestones - crawling, talking, walking, starting nursery... And I am loathe to admit that I even worked out late one night when Poppy would be the same age as Bethy when she left. And I see so much of Bethy in Poppy, it's uncanny. And now, I watch Poppy grow up, start hitting the milestones Bethy never did.
And of course, Poppy is fully aware of Bethany - she asks about her, talks about her, says things like what she and Bethy are going to do and have done together already... Yes, there is a lot of Bethy in Poppy - or, is there a lot of Poppy in Bethy?

Obviously, I know they are two different little girls separated by a vast gulf of time, but when I can think of Bethy as growing up "just yesterday" its hard to not imagine them growing up together. Bethy did this, so Poppy would do it too. Poppy is doing that, so Bethy would be doing it too. I find it hard to picture Bethy as being older than, well, ALL the girls - a year and a bit older than Molly, four years older than Tamsyn. I often wonder what affect "older" Bethy would have - would she be calm and sensible? Would she be disobedient? Would she be working like Dom, or at university like Jaysen? Would she find time to sit and play games with me, or prefer to sit and have a cuppa with Kellie?

"What If" is a dangerous game. It leads you down many roads that can cause hurt, pain, sadness - and it still does on many occasions. But sometimes, like now as I write this, I find myself smiling at the thought of Little Bethy and Poppy together, or Big Bethy and all of them together. That extra place at the dinner table, that extra cab to get us around, that extra ticket for the stupid plan we've decided on.

The 15th was a hard day. It was a sad day. But now, in the night, I'm done with being sad and upset. I'm thinking of my Baby Moo with a smile under the tears.

My beautiful birthday girl, Bethany...

I can't see that you would be nineteen today. The numbers don't sit right in my mind. Maybe it's not seeing you here, maybe it's not the reminders that you are growing up - well, grown up, as you would be. I can't correlate that crying little baby fighting her way through that first day, with a little girl turning nineteen years old.

I wonder what you'd be studying or doing - something in medicine maybe? Something with kids? Maybe you'd be a hairdresser, or an optician - hell, maybe you'd be the first girl something-or-other. Whatever you'd chose, where ever you'd have ended up, just know that you would always make me proud.

I was proud of you the from the first moment you balled those little fists up, let lose with that cry, right through to the bitter end, after bringing so much love into the world, and bringing together so many people to support one another. And even now, I am proud of every second you were around.

You are an amazing girl my little Bethy. You always have been, and you always will be. Where ever you are baby, I hope you are dancing and jumping and spinning and running, and loving the person you are, and the person you would have become.

I love you Bethy, and as ever, I see you baby, every single day.

-Daddy

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